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Nine days of film and fun

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, showcasing books and films from across the globe, began its 42nd year on Oct. 28.

The festival gives its patrons the opportunity to watch original films they may never otherwise see. Held in the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the screenings range from mountain sports, like skiing and snowboarding, to mountain climbing and hiking, to all around outdoor exploration. Approximately 25 films are shown each year and are chosen from hundreds of applicants. It presents a general theme of the mountain lifestyle but also favours high-adrenaline films, like base-jumping or kayaking across entire oceans. Once the festival wraps up, the best films are sent on a world tour, visiting hundreds of cities and 20 countries. The film selections will be announced in November and will then begin their world tour.

The films vary from less than 10 minutes to upwards of an hour and, with tickets starting at $15 for a minimum of two films, the festival’s accessible to all.

At 5:30 p.m., as the second screening of the day let out, local band The Ramblin’ Hey Ho Ha’s played an outdoor show, just past the doors. A crowd gathered to watch as singer-songwriter Gary Gonis led his band through a series of classics, ranging from Tom Petty to John Denver.

Over the nine-day festival, there are also free events offered, such as mountain top yoga, meditation practice and talks with various explorers and photographers.

The weekend’s most highly anticipated films include DugOut and Mountain – recommendations coming directly from festival programming director Joanna Croston.

DugOut follows two British explorers on their journey through the Ecuadorian Amazon as they spend time with an indigenous group. They are taught how to make a dugout canoe and take it down the Amazon river in this comedic take on Amazon life. Mountain is by filmmaker Jennifer Peedom and composer and Banff Centre resident Richard Tognetti. It depicts the power that the mountains have on us and their beauty and is narrated by actor Willem Dafoe.

There was also trade show set up in the lobby, for those interested in checking out outdoor and climbing gear.

The selected highlights will also be visiting Edmonton on their tour; on Jan. 11-17. The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival will return for its 43rd year on the last weekend of October next year.

– Nikita Eleniak

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